There were consistent reports of disputes, call-outs and other signs of an uneasy friendship over the Los Angeles Lakers' early struggles, but things seem to have changed—for the better—this past week.
According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, D12 was happy to have been confronted by the Black Mamba and feels the discussion has added a new edge to his game.
I love it. That's something we needed. A lot of times we have a lot of guys come together and nobody wants to step on anybody's toes. We want to win. In order for us to win, we have to pull the best out of each other every night.
During a team-only meeting last week, Bryant made an impassionate inquiry into whether or not Howard liked playing alongside of him. It seemed to have a jarring impact on the big man, as the situation began changing almost immediately after the talk.
D12 began playing more aggressively in the early goings of games and set the pace for the team defensively, while Bryant has begun facilitating more and has quickly become a top playmaker for the squad.
On the role reversal, Kobe said: "I was probably born a scorer, but I was made a winner."
That is exactly what has been happening since the Lakers players stopped playing selfishly and challenged one another to be better.
The 19-25 squad has ripped off two wins in a row, including a huge 105-96 win over the defending Western Conference champions, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Will the Lakers make the playoffs?
It has definitely taken some outside-the-box thinking and plenty of trial and error to find a way to make things click in Los Angeles.
Fortunately, there is still nearly half a season left to play, and a rejuvenated, motivated Lakers roster will still have a chance of making the playoffs.
Howard and Bryant may never be best friends, but they have finally made the necessary sacrifices and have seemingly found the right chemistry to win on the same court together.